The HEALTH : May 2019 | Page 17

MAy, 2019 | The Health HealtH ISSUE: issue: MENTAL mental HEALTH health 17 Malaysia are seeing rising numbers of mental health issues among youth as well as the adults. Mental Wellness takes centre stage in Malaysia physical health are fundamentally linked, indicating the need for holistic treatment approaches to include behavioural health for better patient outcomes. Behavioural healthcare is struggling due to a lack of skilled personnel and sufficient infrastructure with only 1% of the global healthcare workforce being able to deal with behavioural health issues, while 45% of the global population stay in countries with one or fewer psychiatrists per 100,000 people. Depression and anxiety form the top two segments in the behavioural health disorders landscape. The gender distribution of all mental disorders is almost equal (48 percent females, 52 percent males), while the most affected age groups are the younger generations (15-29 years) and the middle-aged (30-49 years). It affects everyone By June LIAng I t can happen to anyone – not just rock stars, celebrities and comedians who seem to have it all. Closer to home, recent incidents of people being affected by depression and mental wellness in the local community is testimony that mental illness can happen to anyone and at any time. Mental illness has an economic impact and underpins productivity. When employees are affected by stress, anxiety and depression whether work related or otherwise, the motivation to work and perform declines.” Rising mental health issues In September 2018, Malaysia Mental Health Associa- tion (MMHA) raised the red flag and highlighted that over the past year, there has been an alarming spike in the number of teenagers and children in Malaysia who are contemplating suicide. The fragility of the human mental state of health can drive anyone to contemplate suicide as a solution. Recent events in the region have renewed the global concern for mental health. In fact, the cost of healthcare for mental illnesses is set to rise to a whopping US$6 trillion in 2030 annually from $2.5 trillion in 2010. The global treatment gap in 2004 for disorders such as depression and anxiety was more than 50% and more than half of these patients went untreated. The situa- tion has not changed significantly in 2018. The need for a holistic approach A growing body of evidence suggests that mental and Mental illness has an economic impact and underpins productivity. When employees are affected by stress, anxiety and depression whether work related or oth- erwise, the motivation to work and perform declines. Mental illnesses take a severe toll on the patient, family, and caregiver; the economic effects on the patient as well as the nation are significant. The focus is shifting to prevention, and this is likely to become a norm in the future. The above unmet needs situation also apply to the situation in Malaysia. There is still much to be done to build an integrated eco-system for mental wellness to be dealt with from prevention perspective and care to being easily accessible and administered at the appro- priate point in time. timeliness is of essence. Currently, mental health issues are addressed at the tertiary level (hospitals), but the primary care level and pre-primary can do so much more. Initiative done Subang Jaya’s mental health initiative initiated by YB Michelle Ng and supported by a team of medical volunteers looks to address the issue of mental health from an early intervention approach. The Subang Jaya Care Warriors concept looks at a two prong approach to tackle the issue of mental health namely suicide preven- tion by a team of clinical doctors and secondly, a team of wellness experts whose role is to provide a bridge to tackle this issue starting from a wellness-oriented approach to building resilience at the community level and amongst the youth in general. Youths are empowered to better manage their mental state of well-being and are able to impart the wisdom of mindfulness, spread loving kindness, and help navigate those in need of care to the relevant places and avenues where accurate and quick help is provided accordingly. For more information on the Subang Jaya Care War- riors program, please reach out to june.liang@frost. com. — The Health June Liang is the Country Head for Malaysia at Frost & Sullivan.